Leading-up to the hottest day on record for the UK, 40oC in Southern England, COPSE and partners have been busy watering newly planted fruit trees on all of our orchards. Many of the orchards were parched and dry, however Puttenham Orchard (photographed above), a chalk downland site was surprisingly fairly verdant with many plants still in flower, such as Marjoram. As well as watering, weeding and applying mulch helps fruit trees, by reducing competition for water from other plants and reducing evaporation from the soil. Liphook Parish have a 10,000 litre rain harvesting tank to help water Fletcher’s Field’s trees.
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Gareth is an ecologist interested in conserving traditional orchards and heritage fruit, for people and wildlife.